On Sunday during sacrament meeting it hit me how grateful and happy I am to live where I do. Our ward is a real community, and a mix of kinds of families. Who all happen to think my kids are cute, and give me sourdough starter, and sell us eggs, give blessings to neighbors and ask our help with that. Our elderly next door neighbors bring over boxes of garden and orchard spoils, since I'm too black thumbed to grow my own.
Our neighborhood beyond our ward is also cool. Calvin has a little gang of friends around his age nearby, although we don't all live in a row and they don't play every day, it's close enough and often enough. We got "Boo-ed" from some unknown neighbor, and Calvin chose a bus friend down the road that I don't know to Boo in return. It made me happy, too, when we biked around to deliver his birthday party invitations (party held at the park one house away).
This part of the state is still rural enough to feel like we're out in the country, and Nate works in an industry that supports lots and lots of local livelihoods. It is beautiful here, except from January to March, but for now I'm pretending that part of the year doesn't exist.
Which reminds me; remind me to read this post in January, February and March.
I am trying to write a blog post but Nate is looking over my shoulder. I can't blog while he's watching (too nervous). But I'll try.
I was looking forward to having my family come to stay at our house for months. As in I'd been looking forward to it for months, not that they'd be staying for months (just to clarify). And then the weekend they were coming turned out to be the weekend of Gramps' funeral. Not great. I was grateful my parents could hang out with the kids, and especially that we could leave Maggie home for the whole extravaganza, but of course I wanted to spend more time with them and take at least a single picture! I took a few of George and our hike with the T&Js, but I failed at parental recording.
What a life he had, and what changes the world went through during it.
And what an impact he had on Nate.
He spent most of his growing-up life in small-time Smithfield, where his dad ran the big pea plant across the street from his pretty, symmetrical white house with green shutters. He played with local kids and rode bikes and shot birds. He and his brother fought in WWII, he went to USU, fought in Korea, went to art school in California, took pictures of LDS church leaders in Salt Lake, built a beautiful house in Smithfield, taught photography at USU, taught Nate how to catch lizards and drive the Trail 90. He had a stroke shortly after we got married, so even though I didn't know him personally as well as I might have, I know him through his legacy.
There's really no chance for it, but I hope to be about 1/4 as cool as him.
1. Calvin.:I told him he had to wash off the bike tire marks from his legs before school. He wasn't happy about it. Later I found these images on my phone, which he took to preserve the tire marks.
2. Magnolia: She moves. A lot. She planks. She rolls. It's cute. But also, she has this big huge bump on the inside of her cheek that she bites on all the time and it has gotten so crazy I took her into the doctor this week. Of course he said there is not really anything to do about it at this point, but that it probably won't go away and will probably need to be removed by a dentist at some point. Yay.
3. Norah: her outfits these days! They are all about half my fault because they are all about half sewn by me. But once you give your child license to dress themselves I have found it nigh impossible to retract that privilege. So she does, and it is amusing. Sometimes I trick her into choosing what I want her to wear, but it is so hard it is only worth the effort on special occasions. Luckily she is so spunky and cute her crazy clothes usually just come across as charming.
This champion kid has reached the ripe old age of SIX! Sometimes I treat him like he's sixteen! And then I remember his lanky legs may make him look old, but not that old.
He really really really wanted a watch at the end of summer, and I bought one about a month ago and it was really hard for me to wait to give it to him. It was worth the wait, everyone: he hasn't taken it off and hugs it intermittently. Punctuality is very important to him, as he showed when he showed up at 8 am on his due date. (He loved hearing that.)
We had lemon cake (obvs).
We invited his friends to the park. They were a pretty adorable neighborhood gang.
We had Jack & Andy over for dinner.
To balance out all the books and dot-to-dots, we also got him a rubberband gun.
We got toys with wheels from both sets of grandparents. What could beat that?
He's such a smart, funny kid. And so good looking. Just like the love interest in a Rom-Com.
The third south hike is fully beautiful this time of year. I'm still not sure if it is called Dry Canyon or not, but let's just say it is and no one will be able to argue, since there are about sixty Dry Canyons around here anyway. What's one more?
We went up with our old hiking pals, and this time the boys barely fought! They may be friends someday after all. A few days later we went up Birch Canyon and it was also a success--so much so that Alisha and I ran up it 6.5 miles the next day. (I'm still sore.)
It seems a little dumb to say "I'll never" or "I'll always," because you never know what you may change your mind about, but I'll NEVER live away from mountains and I'll ALWAYS love them. (Probably.)
Sometime in July or early August the fighting between these two became unbearable. I wanted to punish them all the livelong day. Lock 'em up. Nate and I talked about it and we didn't really have any new ideas, so we tried the ol' incentive-earning game again. This time it was earning beans (!), dry beans (!), for being kind to each other. We like to call them kindness beans. That just goes to show how gullible kids are; you tell them earning beans is a big deal and they'll straight up believe you. Seriously, we just have two bowls and I transfer beans from one to the other and they care. Anyway, the problem was for me to figure out something they wanted bad enough to motivate them to be kind when they really really just wanted to scream--and the answer was really rather obvious: TV.
I think I normally fall somewhere in the middle (or on the less side of middle?) of tv watching strictness, but over the winter and through my pregnancy of course that was one thing that grew and grew to suit my laziness. I wouldn't say it was out of control, but they were watching a show of any given length every morning and every afternoon and sometimes it added up to 87 hours a day (roughly). So the new system was that they could watch one short show (20-30 minutes) in the morning and once they earn all the beans they can watch a movie. And the funny part is that I am using like 100 beans. It has been ending up that they earn about one movie a week, which I think is Fine. Sometimes I'll just throw handfuls of beans into the appropriate bowl if they aren't earning quickly.
Has it worked? I don't know! Results like this are really not quantifiable, but under pressure I would say that yes, it is working. They at least watch less tv, and they probably maybe hopefully get along a little better. I have let them have a bonus show once or twice when Nate's working late, but overall we aren't having a hard time sticking to one show a day. And that's all about television small.
Way back when Norah was two (August 5th) she was such a good sleeper. She would tell us she was tired, she would go to bed without any complaints, she would never ever come out of her room.
And then she turned three. And then there were tears, tantrums, door kicking and screaming. It was pretty un-awesome. We are pretty good at sticking to our guns and not letting the kids get away with stuff like that, but all of our discipline was very unhelpful and made things worse. After a few hours we'd find her asleep on the floor by the door with her light on and her room completely torn apart. It made me sad, but what's a mom to do? So dad took the kindness approach, was patient, didn't scold, asked if she wanted help with things, stopped threatening, let her leave the light on, and now we have to get her a drink or something most nights, but it's been a while since there was a traumatic nighttime scene. And now she falls asleep in her bed and Nate takes pictures of it. Atta dad.
Unfortunately the first thing to come to mind when I think of Magnolia being five months old is HOORAY that I'm almost half way done breastfeeding.
She is such a strong little muscle baby. I think she gets it from me, and Gromma Trudy said it was from the Clarks. She spends hours every day working on her abs and doing push-ups and it really shows.
When Nate bought that t-shirt he has on he thought it was grey. Maybe a slightly purplish-grey, but grey for sure. Ha.
Everyone on the internet has noted the seasonal change. I noted it last week with the big wind, but now the temperatures have followed suit. The kids don't have to wait for the sun to go behind the house to get dad to play in the backyard, after dinner walks are not sweaty, my herbal tea is dual purpose again (heat and drink). I love any seasonal change, but obviously this one is the best. Seasonal changes offer a nice safe reliable change that you already know is going to happen so it's not one of those worrisome changes that happens from time to time. It's an acceptable form of change for worriers, or just for people who are tired of being hot all the time.
Here are our most recent home "improvement" updates:
A couple of weeks ago we had some very nice gentlemen rip a hole in our roof to create a peak vent. They basically just sliced a slit down the length of our house. Okay, and covered it with a vent and shingles. It is hoped that it will prevent any moisture buildup up there in our vaulted living room ceiling.
The next day a sprinkler pipe we share with our southern neighbors burst. He and Nate and another neighbor from around the corner fixed it after a couple of tries. The first glue was 100% guaranteed and 100% did not work. That made neighbor Daines mad.
Yesterday I took the cupboard doors off the cabinet to the right of our stove. I hope people don't think it is my weak attempt at "open shelving," because it sure would be a sad attempt if it were. If anything it looks like we can't afford cupboard doors. I just wanted to use that cabinet for once. With doors, nothing fits in there because of two things: it had a big weird spice thing in the door that made the door extra thick, and even with a regular door it would have been hard to reach in around and use the shelves because it's in the corner weird. So once again I chose function over form, but I don't know how long it will last until I'll have to put the doors back on out of embarrassment. But it's so practical. It is hard being so practical.
Nate passed this sagging building on his way to scout camp last month and knew I'd like to see it. Now that is 100% true, but what is practical about that, I'd like to know?
I think the #1 indicator that Nate and I are getting old is our increased grooming practices.
Example 1: Nate bought beard balm so he doesn't look like Jerimiah Johnson.
Example 2: The other day I looked like the old lady who lived in a shoe and I couldn't think of what to do about it. I routinely get dressed into clothes instead of workout clothes, I (usually) shower, and I wear makeup, but my extremely low standards for these things aren't cutting it anymore and I just avoid looking in the mirror (and delete pictures of myself). THEREFORE I decided to perform an experiment. I blow-dried my hair and I wore lipgloss and an outfit that didn't include my 5-year-old grubby grey boxy t-shirt. Well. I am older. No one confuses me for a youth anymore. No one is surprised when they hear my age beginning with a 3. Sometimes when you get older you have to spend five minutes on your hair. These are some truths.
Also true: Nate's increased maintenance is still substantially lower than mine. As you may have noticed all it involves is putting some product on his lovely Viking beard. This is most likely because he is 10 months younger.